Daily Archives: November 27, 2008

Realogy dissed by the Times

Realogy, parent company of Coldwell Banker and Sotheby’s, is trying an end run around its creditors in an attempt to stave off bankruptcy. Will it work? Will Apollo Management, which owns Realogy, survive long enough to pay off its debts? This article suggests that Carl Ichan, among other debtors, doesn’t seem to think so. I certainly wouldn’t want to gainsay Mr. Ichan.

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Sarah Palin and media hypocrites?

Our former Vice-Presidential candidate has been savagely criticized by her “gaffe” of pardoning one turkey while another bird was being slaughtered in the background. “Oh, the humanity!” “Oh, how could she be so stupid?” Here’s another take: Palin knows exactly where the turkey that will appear magically on your table this afternoon came from, and it’s not from a plastic wrapper. She was at the farm to “pardon” a turkey to save it from slaughter, you dimwits. Asked if she wanted to move away from the background of reality she said “no, it doesn’t bother me”. And it didn’t because she’s been there before and acknowledges that to eat meat, you have to kill it first. What a concept.

This woman hunts her own food and is honest enough to make the connection between killing and dining. Newscasters, political pundits and, I suspect, many Americans are not so honest: keep me in beef, pork, chicken and turkey but for God’s sake shield me from how it arrived in my supermarket. Kill it out of sight, gut it at the slaughter house and send it to the market in a neat, sanitary wrapper. 

Like Palins politics or despise them, she’s a lot more honest about how humans get their sustenance than any of the morons on national TV or UTube. I wonder what Joe Biden’s eating today?

Here’s Sarah’s gaffe.

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It’s Thanksgiving!

alices-restaurant

Which means, if you’re of a certain age, that it’s time to listen again to Arlo’s “Alice’s Restaurant”. WFUV (90.7) on your dial, WFUV.org, if you’re into internet streaming, will play all 18 (?) minutes of it beginning at noon today. For me, it brings back a couple of notable hippie Thanksgivings, one in Lowell, Vermont, a few miles below the Canadian border in an old, uninsulated farmhouse heated only by a potbelly stove that glowed cherry red and kept us all warm despite the snow outside. The other was in Fayetteville, Arkansas where we gathered in what was ordinarily a vegetarian restaurant turned carnivorous for the occasion. Hoyt Axton’s “I’ve never been to Spain” was on the record player and it’s possible that Lucinda Williams was there. She was friends with my own musician sister and brother-in-law, but who expected such great things from a sixteen year old girl named “Cindy” from Fayetteville, even if she could sing a bit?

Anyway, those are my memories; given the abuses of those days, I’m grateful to have any memories at all, let alone such good ones. I hope you’ll be making new, wonderful memories today and that you all have a blessed Thanksgiving.

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From the WSJ

Courtesy of a friend, here are the twin Wall Street Journal’s Thanksgiving editorials, reprinted every year since 1961. The Journal has never seen fit to replace or update these and I sure don’t either. In fact, Vermont Royster’s observations seem more apt today than at any time in my memory.

The Fair Land

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122765723215458175.html

Any one whose labors take him into the far reaches of the country, as ours lately have done, is bound to mark how the years have made the land grow fruitful.

This is indeed a big country, a rich country, in a way no array of figures can measure and so in a way past belief of those who have not seen it. Even those who journey through its Northeastern complex, into the Southern lands, across the central plains and to its Western slopes can only glimpse a measure of the bounty of America.

And a traveler cannot but be struck on his journey by the thought that this country, one day, can be even greater. America, though many know it not, is one of the great underdeveloped countries of the world; what it reaches for exceeds by far what it has grasped.

So the visitor returns thankful for much of what he has seen, and, in spite of everything, an optimist about what his country might be. Yet the visitor, if he is to make an honest report, must also note the air of unease that hangs everywhere.

For the traveler, as travelers have been always, is as much questioned as questioning. And for all the abundance he sees, he finds the questions put to him ask where men may repair for succor from the troubles that beset them.

His countrymen cannot forget the savage face of war. Too often they have been asked to fight in strange and distant places, for no clear purpose they could see and for no accomplishment they can measure. Their spirits are not quieted by the thought that the good and pleasant bounty that surrounds them can be destroyed in an instant by a single bomb. Yet they find no escape, for their survival and comfort now depend on unpredictable strangers in far-off corners of the globe.

How can they turn from melancholy when at home they see young arrayed against old, black against white, neighbor against neighbor, so that they stand in peril of social discord. Or not despair when they see that the cities and countryside are in need of repair, yet find themselves threatened by scarcities of the resources that sustain their way of life. Or when, in the face of these challenges, they turn for leadership to men in high places — only to find those men as frail as any others.

So sometimes the traveler is asked whence will come their succor. What is to preserve their abundance, or even their civility? How can they pass on to their children a nation as strong and free as the one they inherited from their forefathers? How is their country to endure these cruel storms that beset it from without and from within?

Of course the stranger cannot quiet their spirits. For it is true that everywhere men turn their eyes today much of the world has a truly wild and savage hue. No man, if he be truthful, can say that the specter of war is banished. Nor can he say that when men or communities are put upon their own resources they are sure of solace; nor be sure that men of diverse kinds and diverse views can live peaceably together in a time of troubles.

But we can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure. For that reminder is everywhere — in the cities, towns, farms, roads, factories, homes, hospitals, schools that spread everywhere over that wilderness.

We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.

And we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out from Delftshaven had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land.

 

And here’s the word from those men from  Delfs-Haven:  

Here beginneth the chronicle of those memorable circumstances of the year 1620, as recorded by Nathaniel Morton, keeper of the records of Plymouth Colony, based on the account of William Bradford, sometime governor thereof:

So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been their resting-place for above eleven years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country, where God hath prepared for them a city (Heb. XI, 16), and therein quieted their spirits.

[Review & Outlook]

When they came to Delfs-Haven they found the ship and all things ready, and such of their friends as could not come with them followed after them, and sundry came from Amsterdam to see them shipt, and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other real expressions of true Christian love.

The next day they went on board, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, to hear what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them; what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each other’s heart, that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the Key as spectators could not refrain from tears. But the tide (which stays for no man) calling them away, that were thus loath to depart, their Reverend Pastor, falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with the most fervent prayers unto the Lord and His blessing; and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.

Being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectations, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succour; and for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of the country know them to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search unknown coasts.

Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men? and what multitudes of them there were, they then knew not: for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to Heaven) they could have but little solace or content in respect of any outward object; for summer being ended, all things stand in appearance with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hew.

If they looked behind them, there was a mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar or gulph to separate them from all the civil parts of the world.

 


 

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Welcome, Africa!

Since being forced off Google’s Blogger onto this WordPress platform a few weeks ago I’ve had a few difficulties adjusting. All in all, it seems an improvement but I lost one of my reader counters, Sitemeter, tht despite promises, doesn’t seem to work. I’ve been using ClustrMaps, over on the right hand side, but I don’t like it because, while Sitemeter had shown a steady growth in readership from zero in July, when I was starting this blog, to an average of 550 per day (with spikes into the thousands when Instapundit would link to me), ClustrMaps shows just a couple of hundred. WordPress provies its own metrics which are okay but they show page view (higher than readers, since readers often view more than one page) and don’t show where the readers are located.

ClustrMaps does provide the latter feature and it’s kind of cool to know I have one reader in Hong Kong, a few in Norway, and all that. But no readers in Africa until today, when a reader in Angola showed up. That’s it! I’ve now breached every continent except for Antarctica. Which is satisfying enough that I’ll adjust to the ego-deflating undercount of readership ClustrMaps provides (or, of course, the entirely accurate count that it offers in contra-distinction to the ego-boosting count of Sitemeter).

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When bad things happen to good offers

From reader Cos Cobber Not Cos Cobber comes this tale of woe:

You say that there are no contracts out there but this time, instead of being too late or missing one, my favorite possibility got ’stolen’ from under me.
Someone came along and reportedly offered asking price or thereabouts and we weren’t even called to counter offer. What do you make of that one?

I answered him in the Comments section as follows:

Wow! No contract has been reported yet but that’s good news for the seller and of course bad news for you. I have been preaching that, even in this market, there are buyers out there but they’re far apart from the sellers on price. This house was obviously priced intelligently if it appealed to both you and at least one other buyer.

As for losing it without receiving an offer to beat the other offer, not everyone wants to get into a bidding war. A good offer, by which I mean a good price with few or no contingencies, is a desirable thing to have in hand and rather than risk angering that offerer and perhaps losing him by trying to squeeze a few more dollars out of the deal, it can make sense to just accept the offer as is.

And that brings up another thing I’ve warned buyers about before. Your offer may not be the only one out there. I’m all for making aggressively low offers, especially in this market, but if you find a house you like and if its price is okay then you, too might want to resist the urge to squeeze out that last dollar. Satisfied buyers and sellers make for solid transactions and good will can smooth out any rough spots that may crop up between contract signing an closing. Sometimes, wringing the last bit of juice from a deal is not the wisest course of action, in real estate or business. 

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, current market conditions, pricing